Cruella: The Dog Owner?

Movie Review of Disney’s “Cruella.”

“Cruella De Vil’s car” by titou du Pian

Rebecca Munday, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The 2021 film “Cruella” starring Emma Stone as Cruella de Vil has been out for almost 4 months and is finally available to everyone with a subscription to Disney+. 

I kept waiting for it to be unlocked for non-premium members, so I could watch it and see if the “101 Dalmatians” franchise was one of those stories where the villain’s story arc is more interesting than the protagonist’s story. 

I have to say I am sorely disappointed. Not because it wasn’t an interesting movie, but because Emma Stone’s character wasn’t the Cruella de Vil from the other “101 Dalmatians” films.

Stone’s character was mean, vindictive, cruel and, as she says, a bit “psycho” at times, but they left out one key aspect of the other versions of Cruella in this movie:

Stone’s character doesn’t hate dogs, nor is she ever cruel to them. 

First of all, though she wants to avenge her mother’s death, it is not the dogs that pushed her mother off the bridge who she wants to punish. Instead, she wants to punish the Baroness who ordered them to do it. Other versions of Cruella de Vil would have destroyed the Baroness’s fashion empire, and made her dogs into a fur coat. 

Yet, the one time in this movie where Stone’s character is wearing a dalmatian-looking fur coat, the Baroness only thinks she killed her Dalmatians, but she didn’t actually do it.

When one of the dalmatians swallows her mother’s necklace, Stone’s character kidnaps them and waits for one of them to poop out the necklace. 

Other versions of Cruella would have kidnapped them, but they would not have waited, even impatiently, for the dogs to poop the necklace out. They would have cut the necklace out of the dog and made a coat out of their fur. 

This may be too graphic for a Disney movie, but other renditions managed to tackle mature topics like mental illness, animal cruelty, kidnapping and attempted murder in G-rated films. I’m sure they could have found a way to do it this time as well, especially since “Cruella” is rated PG-13. 

Stone’s character is a dog owner for nearly the entire movie. The dogs aren’t dalmatians, but other versions of Cruella de Vil wouldn’t have been a pet owner at all. They would have seen the furry animal and thought about how they could make a coat out of it rather than keep it as a pet.

In the ending credits, Stone’s character wills the Baroness’s dogs, Pongo and Perdita, to Anita and Roger, instead of finally making them into a fur coat. The Hollywood Reporter did confirm the writer and director of Cruella are working on a sequel to be set between Cruella and 101 Dalmatians. Yet, it’s still hard to imagine any version of Cruella looking out for the well-being of dogs, even just for a short period of time.

Overall, I give the film three out of five stars because it is a good film. The story arc is thought out, the plot twists keep the viewer interested, and the acting is excellent. If you’re a fan of Emma Stone or just looking for a crime movie that is both thrilling and funny, I’d recommend Cruella. 

Yet, “Cruella” should not be part of the 101 Dalmatians franchise because it’s hard to understand how Stone’s character eventually becomes Glenn Close’s character from the 1996 film or the cartoon Cruella de Vil from 1961.